On top of a hill sits a building with closed doors and a path that once welcomed. On the curbside in front of the building, the building that is waiting, there are motionless police cars and road barriers, to divert anyone and everyone from reentering those doors. Doors that once opened wide, doors that said shalom to anyone and everyone. Deep inside a twisted and deranged mind, a man who found the doors open wandered along cascading tricolor hostas and falling tannin leaves loaded with shiny metal concealed under his garments. He wandered past a window where a woman painted portraits of black squirrels while sipping honeyed tea. Candy tucked in her cupboards for tossing in decorative bags held by costume-adorned children on that transcendental dreamy evening approaching. He wandered past another window where a motionless sleeping cat sat with only her belly rising and falling. He wandered further along past yet another window where a bearded man with spectacles gazed out and dreamed of a world so ancient and long forgotten. Leather bounded books arranged by title, line dusty book shelves. Ancient wisdom from these yellowed pages are read with a crooked index finger brushing underneath the text and spectacles on tips of his nose. He reconnects with that mystical past through fables he recites to his grandchildren. And if this man, the one with hate pulsing through his veins, kept wandering about in this neighborhood where Mr. Rogers’s once lived, he may have come across a home with children playing in the front while their mother inside prepared something warm for their mid-day meal. But the man did not find a home, nor a neighbor to greet for if he did, he may have stopped wandering for he would have been welcomed to sit and eat from a plate steaming with goodness and then he may have known what to do or not to do. Squirrel Hill may have still been a place where silently exploding alliums along manicured lawns would be the only noise heard. Yet pockets of poison have made its presence there. Now in homes are folks with bated breaths and on flushed cheeks tears streak. There is work to be done tomorrow and the day after for peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility is a daily practice. Running on reserved fuel, my heart in my throat prevents me from speaking.
In hands, heavy foreheads. In thoughts, missed friends and checked ballots. I cannot face another day of pain, I cannot standby. Courage for the sake of our children, consequences for impulsive and hateful behaviors and especially for those who turn their eye to look another way. For if they are lost and they are wandering, they maybe in need of a neighbor to take them in.The building is still waiting there with closed doors. Waiting to hear the key turn in the door. Waiting for voices to sing hymns, waiting for that salutation that says it all, shalom, to echo down the hall.